Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney signed an agreement in principal last week that would see the two conservative parties unite.

Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney signed an agreement in principal last week that would see the two conservative parties unite.

Conservative parties move on unification plan

The move to “unite the right” has taken the next step in Alberta with the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties.

The move to “unite the right” has taken the next step in Alberta with the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties laying the framework for the establishment of the United Conservative Party.

The announcement was made May 18 with the goal to defeat the NDP in the 2019 provincial election.

MLA Jason Nixon for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre is one of the planners working behind the scenes to develop this agreement in principle (AIG). He and Wildrose leader Brian Jean were busy much of last week with telephone town halls to hear from members.

“The primary concern amongst membership is we are not going to become the PC Party,” explained Nixon.

New PC leader Jason Kenney campaigned on the very principal of bringing the two conservative parties together and both parties’ membership have shown a desire to see that plan followed through. For the Wildrose it means a 75 per cent plus one vote and for the PC Party it means a 50 per cent plus one vote from membership to ratify the agreement.

A short timeline for creation

The AIG lays out governance of how the two parties would eventually become the UCP, which includes founding principles, the development of the new society, an interim joint board to see it all come together and a policy committee to develop new UCP policies out of what it calls the two “legacy parties.”

If an agreement is ratified the UCP will be created with one executive and one leader having control of all three parties, states the proposal. From there each legacy party leader will select six individuals to create an interim board, which will be responsible for the set up of the UCP.

A leadership election committee will be made up of six individuals from each legacy party, who will determine the election process. In the case of the Wildrose, Jean has stated he will be running to lead the UCP.

By Sept. 1 a nomination committee will establish the rules, procedures and timelines for nominations.

By Oct. 28, the leader will be elected.

Assets and finances are separate

The AIG separates the finances and assets of each legacy party with clear guidelines on financial disclosure. “The legacy parties agree to full and complete disclosure and to share all financial and contractual information, all debts and obligations, and information identifying potential or outstanding legal risk, with each other and the UCP.”

Each legacy party will first pay or extinguish its own liabilities.

What unification also means is the two parties may have to meet in the middle on their respective bylaws and policies that would work for the new party.

It was important from the onset of negotiations to have an equal 50/50 structure in the AIG to ensure both parties were represented, said Nixon. “We were putting forward a path to let the membership decide.”

2016 financial statements

These are the net assets from the Wildrose, PC and NDP parties’ annual financial statements from the end of 2016:

Wildrose: $379,470

PC Party: -$450,312

NDP: -$281,131

Alberta Legislature 87 seats

This is how the Legislature stands:

Governing party NDP (55)

Opposition parties Wildrose (22), PC (8), Liberal (1) and Alberta Party (1)